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In God’s economy, we have no right to a particular standard of living, nor to pursue one. Like Paul, we must learn to be content regardless of our standard of living (Philippians 4:11-12). Indeed, this mindset is prerequisite to our doing “all things through Christ, who strengthens me (v.13).”

We have what we have either because God has given it to us, or we have claimed and carved it out for, by, and to ourselves. For the vast majority of us, there is a mixture; and it is hard to determine what falls into each of these two categories. It may be time for an assessment of the situation.

It is also difficult and threatening to consider what needs to go. Some things we possess will never be anything but the weight and sin that so easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1). Or, alternatively, God may consecrate an ill-gotten possession for His eternal use. Recognizing that presumption is an unsafe tactic, how do we know what God would have us do? Read the rest of this entry »

This book may not be for everyone. If your mind is completely renewed and continually set on things above, and if you continually take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, then you will not profit from the revelations and strategies offered here.

For the rest of us, there is a desperate need to give attention to the carnal mind’s methods and maneuvers; it’s deceptions and distractions. I know this first hand. My carnal mind has played tricks on me for the entirety of my life. God continues to reveal the foothold it has established and the damage it has done.

There are others who would rather not be bothered and challenged by self-examination. They are holding on to the possibility that these things will work themselves out without too much involvement and effort on their part. Some have gone so far as to assume that the war for our souls is over.

Beware! This is exactly what our carnal minds would have us accept and believe. Passivity and procrastination are two of its favorite weapons; for they draw very little attention – allowing our carnal mind to remain undetected within the camp. I speak from personal experience.

This hiddenness is quite the phenomenon, particularly when you consider the power and importance that has been awarded to the canal mind in this Age of Reason. Indeed, the carnal mind has been placed upon something more than a pedestal. The carnal mind now occupies a throne! Guess who put it there.

The carnal mind (our collective carnal minds, to be exact) has managed to place itself on a throne for all of mankind to worship!

This truly is an incredible accomplishment. Think about it. Consider our carnal minds’ creative trickery in the American education system. From kindergarten through high school, we are trained to depend on our ability to reason until finally, at the university, it is worshipped. Indeed, mankind believes in the power of reason. Few question the destruction it has wrought.

That brings me to the purpose of this book – to encourage Christians to think about how they are thinking; to recognize we not only allow the enemy to reside in the camp, but we turn to it for counsel and advise. It is no wonder we cannot get the lost world to think differently. Generally speaking, we are not thinking right ourselves.

For the love of money is a root of all the evils, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1Timothy 6:10

Materialism is a mindset that substitutes the things of this world for the promises of God. This includes security, comfort, peace, joy, etc. In the Scriptures, materialism is called by another name:  Idolatry.

The use of “wandered” – in the verse above – is interesting. In the Greek, it means “to go astray, stray away from”.  It is a passive action; like a child wandering away from his mother.

In other words, materialism is not something we actively set our minds to pursue, like adultery or murder. It comes to us like an unseen toxin or cancer, many times wrap in attractive packaging. We don’t have to ask for materialism; it is an active agent – a catalyst for many kinds of sin.

Most American Christians are born into materialism. It is a big part of our culture – an inherent measure of the American Dream. “Keeping up with the Joneses”, once viewed as a negative pursuit, has now become an obligation. Homeowners’ association and our kids demand it. We have been deceived into thinking that making our neighbors and children happy is a redeeming activity. In reality, it is simply an excuse to procure more stuff.

From a Romanian pastor: “In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of external persecution pass it, while 95% of those who face the test of prosperity fail it!” Church leaders in China are recognizing the same threat. While persecution serves as a catalyst for church growth, China’s newfound prosperity is drawing believers away.

Assuming that Americans are somehow immune to this disease is both arrogant and dangerous – for ourselves and our children. To avoid or break free from the poison of materialism, we must recognize and respect it as our enemy. We must set our minds against it.

Once we acknowledge the potential for brokenness in the set of our mind, we become free and empowered to a healthy suspicion of the way we think and the affect that thinking has on our hearts. At this point, we must be particularly cautious.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking “outside the box” is a popular notion in the workplace. Consultants are paid good money to free company executives from the constraints of their day-to-day mindsets.

Most “outside the box” thinking focuses on strategic planning, product development, and operational efficiency. As important as these are, there is another area that promises even greater return: Thinking “outside the box” about relationships. In fact, failing to consider relationships will inhibit – perhaps doom – all other “out of the box” efforts.

So, let’s take a moment and think about it.

Our mind does not willingly explore what we know about someone, beyond the minimal requirements of our relationship with them. There exists a subconscious boundary, based on an unchallenged desire for comfort. We don’t want to discover things we might be responsible for addressing – things that might steal from the time we spend thinking about ourselves.

This is a tragedy, for people are more than we might imagine – even the people we think we know well. Haven’t we been warned not to accept things (or people) on their face value? Does that only apply to things (and people) we are unfamiliar with? Doesn’t that kind of thinking limit our intelligence and response?

Where is human curiosity when you need it? Read the rest of this entry »

As we begin, it is important to note that this is not a thesis on the Trinity. Nor is it intended to be a theological argument. I just have some questions – born out of concern – that I believe God would have us consider.

Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I was taught the Nicene Creed. Every Sunday, we recited the Triune nature of the God-head: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Somehow, I came away an understanding of the Holy Spirit as “Jesus in you”; in essence, that the Holy Spirit was nothing more than the personification of Jesus Christ living inside of me. I am sure this was not done intentionally, but that’s what I came away with.

In those days, the Holy Spirit simply wasn’t a topic of conversation… or teaching.

I have since learned that He (the Holy Spirit) is much, much more. The person and work of the Holy Spirit is unique to Him; and without Him, the followers of Jesus Christ are severely handicapped.

I did not recognize that the Holy Spirit was an equal person of the God-head until I aged into my thirties. I believe it grieved Him. I had to confess, apologize and ask His forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit has since been an intimate Comforter, Teacher and Transformer. His fruit and gifts are much more evident in my life, now that I know Him and His role in my faith journey.

God works all things to the good of those that love Him. My ignorance of the Holy Spirit has made me sensitive to the unique personalities of the God-head – and sensitive to Their absence.

Recently, I have noticed a new kind of replacement theology. It seems to me that God the Father is being replaced in our Christian consciousness by His Son. Are you sensing the same thing?

Read the rest of this entry »

Long ago, Thomas a Kempis wrote, “The Lord has many lovers of His crown but few lovers of His cross.” This is hardly understood in our day. Most of us would say we love the Cross. Why?

Because we only know the Cross for what it has done for us (its work). We know little of what it should be doing to us – the death of self and crucifixion to the world (its way).

 

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

The way of the Cross is the difficult way that leads to life.

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14

It is the way that Jesus is referring to when He says, “Come, follow me.”

Is this the Cross you love?

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

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